Mali

Peasants across Africa are intensifying their struggles against land grabs and other harmful policies that promote industrial agriculture. At a recent international conference organised by the world’s largest peasant movement, Via Campesina, African peasants had opportunities to share their experiences of struggle and to learn.

“It is amazing to see how linked our struggles are,” said Nicolette Cupido from the Agrarian Reform for Food Sovereignty Campaign (FSC) in South Africa.


Malaysian democracy activists estimate that between 300,000 and half a million people peacefully took to the streets of the capital Kuala Lumpur for 34 hours from August 29 to 30. This is much larger than the previous mobilisations by the BERSIH (literally meaning “clean”) movement for free and fair elections.

France’s National Assembly and Senate have voted to extend the country’s military intervention in Mali. A resolution passed both houses of parliament on April 22 with a single vote against.

Three days later, the United Nations Security Council approved Resolution 2100, creating a policing mission (known as MINUSMA) starting July 1. Its projected size is 11,200 soldiers and 1440 police.

France perpetrated two large deceptions in its military intervention into Mali in January. These have been universally presented as true in mainstream media reporting.

The first was that the unilateral decision to invade Mali on January 11 was hastily made. France said it was prompted by imminent military threats by Islamic fundamentalist forces against the Mali's south where the large majority live.

Statement on the military intervention in Mali by the Africa Network of the Committee for the Abolition of the Third World Debt (CADTM), January 29.

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“France is in Mali for the long haul.” That was the headline of France’s daily newspaper Le Monde on February 4. The newspaper's front page, as well as pages 2 and 3, were devoted to a discussion over “what next” for France in Mali.

The French-led intervention in the west African nation of Mali has captured the northern towns of Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal. As the Islamist rebels flee to mountains in the north, the French are contemplating what comes next, amid concerns of a prolonged guerrilla war and war crimes committed by their Mali army allies.

As with other recent examples of Western interventions, the capture of the major urban centres could prove the easiest part of the French-led intervention into the resource-rich region.

A full-scale invasion of Africa is under way. The United States is deploying troops in 35 African countries, beginning with Libya, Sudan, Algeria and Niger. Reported by Associated Press on Christmas Day, this was missing from most Anglo-American media.

The invasion has almost nothing to do with “Islamism”, and almost everything to do with the acquisition of resources, notably minerals, and an accelerating rivalry with China. Unlike China, the US and its allies are prepared to use a degree of violence demonstrated in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Palestine.

France, the former slave power of west Africa, has poured into Mali with a vengeance in a military attack launched on January 11.

French warplanes are bombing towns and cities across the vast swath of northern Mali, a territory measuring some one thousand kilometres from south to north and east to west. French soldiers in armoured columns have launched a ground offensive, beginning with towns in the south of the northern territory, some 300 kilometres north and east of the Malian capital of Bamako.

On June 28, after two days of fighting, the three main towns of Azawad ― a west African nation mostly occupied by Mali ― were captured by Salafi Islamist militias.

The towns Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal had been captured on April 6 by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA). It unilaterally declared the independence of Azawad from Mali, a move met with hostility by regional and global powers.

The Islamist groups ― the Defenders of the Faith (Ansar ad-Din) and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MOJWA) ― are opposed to the independence of Azawad.

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